More firms cut outlook as virus ban begins

Property developer Stockland, betting giant TabCorp, and health insurance firm NIB are among the latest to mothball earnings guidance while Ardent Leisure and Village Roadshow have shut their Gold Coast theme parks as coronavirus bans escalate.

Retailer JB Hi-Fi has also withdrawn guidance but reported a surge in sales since the turn of the new year as customers rush to secure technology and products that will allow them to work from home

Superannuation provider Link Group on Monday withdrew its outlook while TabCorp said its wagering and media, Keno and pokie segments will likely be affected after the federal government ordered operators of venues where people gather, such as pubs, cinemas, gyms and restaurants to close on Monday.

TabCorp said convenience stores and other such outlets, which distribute the company's lottery products, are not covered by the measures and will remain open.

It is expected that newsagencies, which also distribute TabCorp's Lottery products, will remain open but this is not yet confirmed.

Village Roadshow and Event Hospitality and Entertainment, which run cinemas across Australia, complied with the government order.

They have temporarily closed cinemas and stood down staff.

Village also closed its Gold Coast theme parks, which include Movie World and Sea World, until further notice.

Ardent has temporarily closed its Dreamworld and Whitewater World theme parks but some staff will continue working to feed animals and maintain equipment.

Retail Food Group, which runs Gloria Jeans cafes, Donut King, Crust pizza outlets and more, put a stop to the trading of its shares.

It has also been affected by the orders requiring social venues to close.

Businesses such as these may choose to offer take-away only.

Retail Food Group said it will make an announcement on Wednesday before the start of trading.

Gym operator Viva Leisure, which runs the Club Lime and Hiit Republic fitness centres, scrapped its earnings guidance.

Viva said it will provide more details in the coming days.

Retailers and supermarkets have not been immune from the crisis but have reportedly witnessed a sales boost as people prepare for stricter quarantine measures.

Total sales growth for JB Hi-Fi Australia was 9.1 per cent from January 1 to March 22 alone, with comparable sales growth of 8.8 per cent as people stock up on tech and entertainment goods amid tightening social isolation measures.

Sales growth was even better at JB Hi-Fi-owned The Good Guys, up by a comparable 10.4 per cent, though JB Hi-Fi NZ has continued to struggle.

Elsewhere, The Reject Shop says it experienced a material increase in sales driven by customer concerns around coronavirus.

Comparable sales growth for the first twelve weeks of the second half of FY20 now sit at 8.2 per cent.

A week ago comparable sales were 5.7 per cent - meaning comparable sales jumped 36.1 per cent in that time.

This was driven by strong category performances in groceries, cleaning, toiletries and pet care.

The Reject Shop company said it recognised the uncertain duration of the elevated sales activity pertaining to coronavirus and cautions against assuming that these elevated sales will continue through to the end of FY20.

Sky City has withdrawn its earnings guidance and said it would close its Adelaide Casino on Monday.

Southern Cross Media has requested a trading halt before it gives a coronavirus-related trading update. Its shares were down 32 per cent before the halt in trade.

AMP meanwhile says its annual general meeting will still go ahead on Friday, May 8, but they're asking shareholders not to attend in person.

AMP strongly encourages shareholders to consider lodging a directed proxy rather than attending the meeting in person.

Due to the current government rules on non-essential events AMP has also cancelled the shareholder information session with AMP's Chief Economist Shane Oliver, scheduled to take place prior to the AGM.

Virgin Australia is likely to cut more domestic flights and regional airline Rex will only operate passenger services in Queensland as a virus-spooked nation bunkers down amid new travel and trading restrictions.

Virgin's struggles have had consequences for trading partner and chartered flight operator Alliance Aviation Services.

Alliance will stop flying from Brisbane to regional destinations from tomorrow, after Virgin asked it to suspend services.

Alliance expects to transfer some staff to fly in, fly out services which serve the mining industry.

Travel firm Helloworld has meanwhile announced it will be sacking 275 people across its global network, while it will stand down another 1,300 workers from 1700 AEDT on Tuesday for at least the ten weeks to June.

Beleaguered Flight Centre has cancelled its fully-franked 40 cents per share interim dividend, a $40.1 million payout to shareholders that was due in April.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

  • Print this page
  • Copy Link